Last week I posted about an annoying problem (or series of problems) that I’ve been having with my BeOS machine. After a large amount of trial and error, I’ve made some potentially-encouraging progress – read on for an update. As with the first post, this is primarily intended for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation.

I ended up continuing with the basic plan that I described in the previous post – installing BeOS Max to a spare drive, booting from it, and attempting to use the “recover” app (from Axel Dörfler’s bfs_tools package) to retrieve the files and copy them onto a new drive.

It turned out to be a little easier said than done – I’ve been using an old BeOS Max beta 3.1 CD as my “rescue” disc and while I was able to install from it, the resulting installation refused to boot on two machines that I know are capable of running BeOS. After a few failed attempts, I downloaded the newer BeOS Max V4b1 from BeBits and tried again with it – successfully, this time.

There was one nice surprise – the newer version of BeOS Max includes the bfs_tools apps, including the one I needed. I probably could have tried running the recovery while booted from the CD, but I suspected the recovery would be more likely to work from a hard drive install.

At the same time as I was trying to get a working BeOS install to use for the file recovery, I had another stroke of good luck: after several tries I was able to image my current/normal drive using Ghost, and then write that image to a working spare drive. The partition even mounted successfully in my temporary BeOS Max installation, but it appeared to be empty except for a home directory.

Fortunately, when I ran the “recover” application it was able to “see” the files that were originally in the BFS volume. But while it was able to scan the whole drive and apparently recognize all the files that should be there (judging by the output in the terminal, at least), it crashed after recovering a few hundred files.

As far as I can tell, the recover app ran out of memory because of the amount of data on the drive that I trying to recover from (more than 100GB), and it crashed as a result – at least, the memory use appeared to be maxed out at the time of the crash. Since I couldn’t add more RAM without going over R5’s supported memory limit, I decided to try “upgrading” the temporary install with a ZETA 1.2 CD I’ve had kicking around for about a year (ZETA doesn’t have R5’s RAM limitations).

Currently "recover" is chugging through its scan of the drive, it will probably be tomorrow morning before I now if it worked or not. If it crashes this time, then I’ll probably be adding more RAM until it works – or until I hit the RAM limit in ZETA/the computer’s BIOS.

Keeping my fingers crossed…

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3 Comments

JohnnieJ on 2008-02-26 at 05:01 (Reply)
I'm curious, as to what happened? I hope you were able to recover the data.
axeld on 2008-02-26 at 18:56 (Reply)
Sorry for that huge memory need of "recover" - I never found the time to fix that... I hope it'll work out for you!
[...] having no further luck recovering the files from my damaged BeOS partition (details here and here), I decided to setup a fresh install of R5 Pro - I haven’t given up entirely, just [...]

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